Allison Taylor, MD, started the presentation by saying that a woman has hit menopause after she hasn’t had a period for a full year. The median age for menopause is 51. Perimenopause is the transition between regular ovulation and menopause and usually begins in the mid to late 40s, though it can begin as early as a woman’s 30s.
Perimenopausal symptoms include sleep disturbances, hot flashes, menstrual irregularities, breast tenderness, mood disturbances, decreased libido, weight gain and water retention. These symptoms sometimes are misdiagnosed as issues with thyroid function, Dr. Taylor said.
The key to hormone treatment is keeping a proper balance between two hormones, estrogen and progesterone, she said. Because that proper ratio isn’t the same for every woman, physicians may need to tweak dosages to find the right amounts. The hormones can be taken as a pill, skin lotion or cream, lozenge or vaginally.
In addition to medication, exercise, eating a high fiber/low fat diet, getting daily sunlight and using relaxation techniques are among the other ways to fight perimenopausal symptoms.
For more information, please view Dr. Taylor’s slide show below. Next up for Women’s Connection: “Recognizing and Managing Sports-Related Concussions” with Travis Francis, manager of Via Christi Sports Medicine, 11:30 a.m. Aug. 13. Click here for more information and to register.